Poetry Quotes: Drunkenness

It is vain for the sober man to knock at poesy’s door. ~Plato

No poems can please for long or live that are written by water-drinkers. ~Horace

      Be always drunken. Nothing else matters: that is the only question. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken continually.
      Drunken with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will. But be drunken.
      And if sometimes, on the stairs of a palace, or on the green side of a ditch, or in the dreary solitude of your own room, you should awaken and the drunkenness be half or wholly slipped away from you, ask of the wind, or of the wave, or of the star, or of the bird, or of the clock, of whatever flies, or sighs, or rocks, or sings, or speaks, ask what hour it is; and the wind, wave, star, bird, clock, will answer you: ‘It is the hour to be drunken! Be drunken, if you would not be martyred slaves of Time; be drunken continually! With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will.’ ~Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), “Be Drunken,” translated from French by Arthur Symons

The smell of ink is intoxicating to me — others may have wine, but I have poetry. ~Terri Guillemets, “Inkdreaming,” 1994

These poets, who get drunk with sun, and weep
Because the night or a woman’s face is fair…
~Amy Levy, “A Minor Poet,” c. 1884

My poems are love-drunk letters to the universe. ~Terri Guillemets, “So easy, so hard,” 1994

…I have sat,
In days, when sensibility was young,
And the heart beat responsive to the sight,
The touch, and music of the lovely one;
Yes, I have sat entranced, enraptured, till
The spirit would have utterance, and words
Flowed full of hope, and love, and melody,
The gushings of an overburdened heart
Drunk with enchantment, bursting freely forth,
Like fountains in the early days of spring.
~James G. Percival (1795–1856), “Love of Study,” c. 1822  [Percival was a surgeon, geologist, chemistry professor, poet, dictionary editor, and book collector! –tg]

Sometimes when I mean to pickup my pen
I pickup my beer,
and I write with my drunk—
the ink an intoxicant always,
more so than brew or fermented grape;
mind ferments momentarily—
      feelings, the fragrant raw hops
      words wizen into malt
      sudden fireworks of poetry
      effervesce out the bottle…
~Terri Guillemets, “My mind ales me & I strain for words,” 2014  [Ummm… write buzzed, edit tipsy? —tg]

Poetry Quotes: Drunkenness
Original post date: 2006 Feb 5
1st major revision: 2015 May 1
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